Theo Aartsma Interview
Chapter XXX: Empire
- Ari Wenkle
Chapter XLV: Primal
- Lucas de Alcântara
Chapter XLIV: Echoes
- Vesna Pesic
Chapter XLIII: Time
- Niklas Lundberg
Chapter XLII: Obsolete
- Karan Singh
Chapter XLI: Mirror
- Raphael Vicenzi
Chapter XL: Mythic
- Rik Oostenbroek
Chapter XXXIX: Eve
- David Mascha
Chapter XXXVIII: Freestyle IV
Chapter XXXVII: Her
- Jonathan Foerster
Chapter XXXV: Noir
- Matei Apostolescu
Chapter XXXIV: Idio
- Kervin Brisseaux
Chapter XXXIII: Requiem
- Cristiano Siqueira
Chapter XXXII: Temple
- James Wignall
Chapter XXXI: Freestyle III
- Theo Aartsma
Chapter XXX: Empire
Chapter XXIX: Untitled Dreams
- Bart van Leeuwen
Chapter XXVIII: A Trip to Elsewhere
- Jeff Huang
Chapter XXVII: Vivid
- Eric Sin
Chapter XXV: Freestyle II
- Gavin Hislop
Chapter XXIV: Calibre
- Christian Jehle
Chapter XXIII: Lounge
- Justin Maller
Chapter XXI: Deluxe I
- Gavin Moore
Chapter XX: Voodoo
- George Smith
Chapter XVIII: Human
- Antti Sinisalo
Chapter XVII: Freestyle
- Justin J. Bacon
Chapter XVI: Element
- Nik Ainley
Chapter XV: Habitat
- Bart van Leeuwen
Chapter XIV: Verve
- Alistair Uz
Chapter XIII: Infinity
- Bharani Kumar
Chapter XII: Evolution
- J Braam
Chapter XI: Submergence
- Vincent Lai
Chapter X: Symphony
- Pete Golibersuch
Chapter IX: Technica
- Thomas Larsson
Chapter VIII: Fantasy
- Alston I. Cabral
Chapter VII: Re-Birth
- Tony Graf
Chapter V: Foundry
- Gavin McGinn
Chapter IV: Nemesis
First off, hit us with a bit of a bio
My name is Theo I'm 25 years old and live in the north of Holland. Not much to say really. I'm just a regular guy to be honest, with a regular life apart from the hours I spend behind my computer. My daytime work consists out of creating new media, mostly corporate web design. In my spare time I do my own thing; the complete opposite.
Take us through your design process, how do you get from concept to finished piece?
Starting with concept, sometimes I work out a concept from start to finish, sometimes I improvise a lot. Improvisation is often seen as a negative thing. But I like the way it makes art less science and more alive. Life has a lot of unexpected surprises, so why would art or graphics be different? Whenever possible I at least try to listen to the way the work speaks to me. The biggest thing it depends on is the fact how predetermined the brief or idea is. The more I get from that the more I conceptualize, and the less I improvise. I love to do both complete concepts as more freestyle.
After I have a worked out a complete concept or just a general idea I usually start sketching the old fashion way. Nothing beats a traditional build up; using composition sketches, color studies, etc.. Its a phase a lot of people don't bother with in the digital scene, but I really think it gives my work more depth. I also decide which mediums will be best for the task. In the past couple of years, I've learned quite a lot of mediums, so I have many at my disposal.
Next I create and sometimes search my material. Creating vector illustrations, taking or searching for photos, messing around with 3d apps, pen and ink drawings, or trying out something completely new like fractals or painting. I have a lot of material lying around waiting to be used, so I can pull stuff from there as well (this consists mostly of half finished illustrations, abstract renders, (tribal) ornaments, etc) I try to create everything I use myself. I only ever use small stuff like plants or machinery from stock resource.
Putting everything together is what I really love the most of the whole process. Creating the foundation for my scene or collage. I love it the most because this the phase where you really start seeing results with everything you do. This also the phase where I rethink my choices, I can even go so far to throw everything up side down and start over.
After that part has been completed (when I have the feeling that everything is right and nothing can go wrong anymore) I start finalizing the composition and all its elements, fx and typos in Photoshop. This task is the most time consuming. To get everything right I usually have to push myself a bit. Its not really in my blood, but I know its necessary. I think my talent lies more in seeing and working fast with sketches and composing. But it is something that needs to be done and the results are very much worth it.
What kind of artistic education have you received / are you pursuing?
I don't have any artistic education. I'm self-taught. I do have a Bachelor in Multimedia Design. But that was more scientific on design for new media then it was for creating creative graphics and illustrations. I might be doing a master in graphics design starting September this year, but I'm not sure about that yet.
Although it's a tired question, I'm curious as to what inspires you?Your work has a very unusual aesthetic to it, what sparks your creativity?
Well a tired question asks for a tired answer! My inspiration comes mostly from everyday life. But there are some parts of that which inspire me more then other. I always liked the resemblance of technology to nature. This inspires me greatly. Just looking and analyzing the wonders of nature always does it for me. Apart from this, I have a background in tattoo designing and graffiti. These influences are still, though masked a little, recognizable in my work. I love lines, form and composition above all. I see lines and composition in everything, and I try to take it all in. Apart from that I must admit I'm also inspired by other people in the (digital) art/graphics scene, especially the graphic styles brought forth by the electronic music scene in Europe; these have been a great influence on my work.
Is art just a hobby for you, or something you can envisage yourself doing as a job?
I'm starting to get more and more offers as we speak. I hope to one day be able to live of my work although for now I am more than happy to keep it as a hobby. Those things will come if they are meant to be. All I can do is my best. We'll see.
Where do you see your personal work going, stylistically and/or professionally?
Professionally I would love to do work for the entertainment industries, especially music. That's what I love most and what I've always wanted to do. Stylistically I don't know yet what I'm going to do next. One of the foundations of my work is combining things that haven't really been combined before. I want to do more with something I call digital tribalism; combining one of the oldest forms of art with the newest forms of art. There is a huge amount of creativity that can still be derived from that.
Do you enjoy working in a collective environment like dC? How does it effect or change your artistic experience or process?
I do enjoy collective environments very much. They really push me to become better. Most of the times I already have it in me to grow. But it doesn't seem to come out if I don't have people backing me up, and giving me constructive criticism and support to help me improve. Often they say artists should follow their own way completely and not listen to other people; as long as they think its good themselves then it is good. I don't think this is true, art or graphics should be liked be as much the artist himself as the public he presents them too. Call me insecure but I need the affirmation sometimes.
Are there any particular artists whom you especially admire?
Too many, I would let myself down If I put up a list here. I dont admire the artists so much but more an aspect of the artists work.
Time for the dirty dozen!
Which program could you not live without?
Which three websites could you not live without?
Google, my webmail, and depthCORE
Which song is your most played in iTunes?
What is your favourite day of the week?
Tattoo a five letter word on your chest;
What superpower would you have?
The power to create more superpowers.. lame :) No, the power to inflict self-awareness in people
Coffee or tea?
Tea in the morning, Coffee in the evening/night
Who are your three personal heroes?
I don't idolize but everybody who uses their talents and does the right thing with them enjoys huge amounts of respect from me
Favourite movie of all time?
2001 a Space Odyssey made a big impression
Who would play you in a movie about you?
Somebody unknown I think, or else Johnny Depp maybe, he s brilliant.
If I locked you in a room for eternity, which two people would you choose to spend it with?
I'd probably just pick 2 random people
Philip K. Dick
Rock on, we're done. Final shout outs go here, thanks for taking the time brother!
Thanks for all the support and feedback from everybody around here and in my inner circle. This really means a lot to me. And I'm only just getting started.. so.. to be continued.. for sure! Peace!